I was not a very good student to begin my high school career. The only time I would sniff above an 80 in a class my freshman and sophomore year was in acting class…
Of course, when my junior year came around, I knew it was time to put the pedal to the metal, but I was not quite sure how. I wanted very badly to get into NYU, which is not easy to get accepted to, and knew my GPA would not cut it to get in. What was I to do? I was never a great student and academics rarely meshed well with me, so I did what I knew best: I sucked up!
Yeah, I was that dude my last two years of high school and my peers thought I was so obnoxious, but it worked! I did anything my teachers asked of me, I was timely with turning in assignments, constantly volunteered during class and was the sweetest, sappiest student you would ever meet. Sure, I never got above an 85 on a majority of my tests, but I got straight A’s my last two years of high school. I finished high school graduating in the top 25% of my class and was accepted to one of NYU’s top programs.
So why the hell am I telling y’all this? Well, for one, I love to brag about myself but also it this idea of being a teacher’s pet perfectly embodies one of my favorite classes in the NFL draft…
Duke safety, Jeremy Cash.
Like my high school self, Cash does not have the natural gifts necessary to immediately succeed in his craft. Cash looks the part at 6-2, 210 pounds, but he lacks the athletic ability people want to see from top tier defensive back prospects. He does not have ideal agility nor does he have great burst… So, sure it’s a wonder as to why I like Jeremy Cash so much.
Well, like me, he is a teacher’s pet, albeit on the field.
Jeremy Cash may not have the natural tools but his high motor, football IQ and willingness to do literally anything on the field is what makes him so special. Cash can bee seen lining up all over the field; Deep safety, strong safety, slot corner and even linebacker, and he is making an impact from every spot. His ability to diagnose plays in the running and passing game, and then attack them is second to almost none in this class. He compensates for his athletic ability with high-level perceptive skills as a defensive back and how his mind will move faster than his feet would need to. To pair with his excellent mind is how damn scrappy he is. He has no problem attacking downhill, working through traffic to attack in the run game. He is as sound and willing to take on the run as any defensive back I have watched. He can finish plays as he is a strong, violent tackler and does a good job mitigating relative speed by taking excellent angles to the ball carrier. To finish that, he also will fight to force fumbles on a regular basis… Like I said, he is willing to do anything to
Of course, brains cannot blanket brawn at every point in play. Cash can find himself athletically outmatched; usually the further away he is from the football. His closing speed is not great and sometimes there is only so much his recognition skills can do to compensate. His ball skills also need work, but Cash is regularly trying to force turnovers in the run game, so the presence of a "playmaking factor" is very present in his game.
NFL Comparison: Jeremy Cash reminds me a lot of Detroit Lions safety, James Ihedigbo. Both have excellent size and function basically as weak side linebackers in a defense. Neither are great athletes, though I do think Cash moves better, but their field IQ and pure "want to" as football players allow them to fly all over the field.
The Eagles like to use their safeties interchangeably, which suggests that Cash would not be an ideal fit in the defense. While he is excellent near the line of scrimmage, he may be a liability at deep safety in the single high looks the Eagles love to run. However, if a team is looking for a pure strong safety, look no further than Jeremy Cash. His physicality, intelligence and high motor make him such an asset closer to the line of scrimmage and would warrant a high pick for such a role. Being a teacher's pet may help the averagely skilled person succeed, but it can only do so much, otherwise I would be going to Yale.